07. April 2021 | 09:40 CET
SunMirror, Varta, Akasol, IBU-tec - The new batteries are coming fast!
The industry is now overflowing with pronouncements on electric mobility! The USD 2 trillion infrastructure plan unveiled by Joe Biden includes allocating hundreds of billions of dollars for measures against the vexing climate change. According to estimates by the renowned investment house Raymond James, the funds earmarked for climate spending total USD 628 billion, including USD 174 billion for research into electric mobility and another USD 100 billion to rehabilitate the USA's ailing power grid. Reason enough for us to take a closer look at metal and battery stocks.
time to read: 4 minutes by André Will-Laudien
Born in Munich, he first studied economics and graduated in business administration at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in 1995. As he was involved with the stock market at a very early stage, he now has more than 30 years of experience in the capital markets.
SunMirror AG - Swiss competence for metals
The electric vehicle revolution cannot do without energy storage. Thus, the political closing of ranks for e-mobility also heralds a golden age for battery raw materials, which is best illustrated by the price increase for critical raw materials such as lithium and cobalt in recent years. Market forecasts remain incredibly robust, with a tripling of current demand expected over the next 5 years. The growing demand for energy storage, the general electrification of products and the myriad of new battery-intensive applications significantly increase interest in these raw materials.
Traceability is a keyword in SunMirror AG's projects. The ability to trace mined material from the mine through the processing plant, refinery, chemical plant, and finally to the battery factory and automotive assembly is a strategic competitive advantage in quality assurance. In recent years SunMirror has built up an Australian exploration portfolio of sought-after minerals that will benefit from the boom in electric vehicles, renewable energy and other future technologies. These are mainly lithium, cobalt, nickel, vanadium and tin; of course, gold and nickel also appear.
Therefore, the Swiss will make some efforts in exploration in the current year, for which an additional CHF 70 million is to be raised soon. The SunMirror share was listed for the first time in December 2020 and doubled in price very quickly. With 2 million shares, the market capitalization is a good EUR 300 million at a price of EUR 152. The sails are thus fully in the wind and the stronger the industry gains momentum, the better the raw material supplier from Zug will be able to develop.
Varta AG - The new generation battery is under development
Varta's new vehicle battery with the series abbreviation 21700 is causing a sensation. Analysts are currently evaluating Varta's statements on the announcement of their annual figures and are trying to integrate the new future topic into their model accordingly. Thereby they come to very different results. The analyst firm Stifel's assessment can hardly give any support in the course's back and forth. Although Stifel raised the price target for Varta yesterday from EUR 92 to EUR 107, it still left the rating at "Sell," despite the announced change in strategy towards car batteries.
The new aggregate could be used primarily in vehicles in the premium segment, it was said from Ellwangen. So far, however, there are no concrete indications about the progress of construction and the all-important readiness for series production in the automotive industry. Everything is still very vague and, therefore, also a risk for the Varta share, which is by all means highly valued. Stay on your guard because the EUR 135 mark is already receding into the distance.
Akasol AG - High-performance batteries from Darmstadt, Germany
Another player in the market is Akasol AG, a leading developer and manufacturer of predominantly liquid-cooled, rechargeable, high-performance lithium-ion battery systems for a wide range of applications, including buses, commercial and rail vehicles, ships and stationary applications. The Company was founded in 1990 as the non-profit association Akasol e.V. and is now based in Darmstadt.
The plant currently has a total production capacity of up to 300 MWh per year, which will be expanded to up to 800 MWh by year-end 2021. This corresponds to Europe's largest lithium-ion battery system production facility for commercial vehicles, which can currently produce complete systems for up to 3,000 all-electric buses or 6,000 medium-sized commercial vehicles per year, depending on size. It is a significant capacity, which is not currently being called upon.
In recent years, Akasol has become a strategic battery supplier to leading manufacturers in its target industries, including commercial vehicle and technology producers such as Alstom, Bombardier and Rolls-Royce Power Systems. Akasol has been on the stock market since July 2019. It has more than quadrupled since its March low at around EUR 30, a pretty big gulp from the bottle, in our opinion.
IBU-tec AG - It all comes down to the ingredients
If you want to build a battery, you need not only raw materials but also processed metals and additives. The IBU-tec Group offers its products in the fields of battery materials and specialty chemicals, as well as development and production services. In addition to high-grade materials, these include organotin and customized catalysts, as well as micro and nanoscale metal oxides in powder or suspension form. IBU-tec covers the full range of services from material and process development to scale-up and contract production. In addition, the Company also offers its customers engineering and special plant construction services.
As part of its "IBU2025" strategy, IBU-tec aims to enter a whole new dimension in sales and earnings and expects to grow by an average of 20 to 25% per year in the coming years. For fiscal year 2025, sales of EUR 80 million to over EUR 100 million are planned, with an increase in the EBITDA margin to more than 20%. Particularly interesting: In the core segment of battery materials, CEO Weitz even expects sales to increase more than tenfold compared to 2019.
The IBU-tec share was discovered only a few months ago and has quadrupled from a standing start, so the price should first digest the new level.